A HUMDINGER OF A CAKE

I was wondering if you could provide me with a copy of a recipe that I lost for Hummingbird Cake. My family really enjoyed it and I'm having a big party soon and want to serve it. I first ran across the recipe in the Food section more than a year ago.

Latonya Pearsall

Riverdale

This elegant cake was concocted by recipe developer Elinor Klivans who included it in an article she wrote for the Food section.

Do you have your own recipe request? Contact us! (See address and e-mail information below.)

Hummingbird Cake

(12 to 14 servings)

This Southern specialty is a very moist banana, pineapple and pecan cake good enough to serve without any frosting at all. But for those who prefer things on the sweet side, there's a wonderful cream cheese frosting recipe too. Toast the pecans in a 325-degree preheated oven for 8 minutes to enhance their flavor.

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 ounces (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for the pans

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (about 3) mashed ripe bananas

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 scant cup (8-ounce can) crushed pineapple in its own juice, drained

1 cup roughly chopped toasted pecans

For the cream cheese frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups confectioners' sugar

1 cup roughly chopped toasted pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottoms and sides of two 9-inch cake pans, at least 2 inches deep. Line the pan bottoms with parchment or wax paper and butter the paper.

For the cake: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. You will have small crumbs of butter. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat the mixture for 1 minute longer. Add the vanilla and mashed bananas, mixing until no large pieces of banana remain.

Reduce the speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated. Add the buttermilk, mixing just to incorporate it. Then mix in the remaining flour, stopping as soon as it is incorporated. Use a large spoon to stir in the pineapple and pecans.

Divide the the batter equally between the prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick withdraws clean from the center, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool the layers in the pans for 5 minutes. Loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and invert the layers onto a wire rack; discard the paper liners. Turn the cake layers right-side up to cool completely, about 1 hour.

For the frosting: In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly blended. On low speed, add the confectioners' sugar 1 cup at a time. Beat until the frosting is smooth, about 1 minute.

Place 1 of the cake layers top-side up on a serving plate. Spread about 1 cup of the frosting evenly over the top. Top with the second layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the pecans over the top. Refrigerate for up to 3 days and serve at room temperature.

Per serving (based on 14): 630 calories, 6 gm protein, 76 gm carbohydrates, 36 gm fat, 113 mg cholesterol, 16 gm saturated fat, 220 mg sodium

Send your question (or your answer to a reader's question) to: Prince George's Food, The Washington Post, 14402 Old Mill Rd., Suite 201, Upper Marlboro, Md. 20772. Or e-mail it to food@washpost.com.